Cataracts is an aggregation of lens proteins that lead to a decrease in vision. It is one of the biggest challenges in ophthalmic research due to accessibility to the lens and highly structured proteins in the lens that make it difficult to treat.
It is estimated that 88 per cent of people older than 75 years will have some form of this condition which is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Currently, there are more than 2.5 million Canadians who are affected by cataracts and that number is expected to double by 2031.
While cataract surgery remains an effective option for many, Ingenuity researchers have their sights set on a new model of cataract treatment that does not rely on surgical intervention, by engineering molecules that would have capabilities to detect, inhibit and restore the affected proteins in the lens. The technology would also prevent further formation of the aggregate proteins that decrease vision.
This potential technology is particularly exciting for developing nations where surgical access is often limited and holds great promise for ageing populations around the world.